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The Germy Gym

March 30, 2011

Last night I decided to try something new again. I workout at 24 hours fitness and they offer such a variety of classes like kickboxing, cycle, yoga, zumba, and body pump. I love having access to so many wonderful classes. I had heard great things about the Tuesday evening 24 hr S.E.T. class and instructor from a woman at body pump last week, so I thought I should check it out.

S.E.T. stands for strength endurance training. It is a cardio strength combination class that alternates strength training exercises with step cardio exercise to sculpt and tone every major muscle group.  I loved every minute of it. It was so challenging and really did push my endurance as promised. I was literally dripping sweat about 10 minutes in and was pushing myself the entire class. It was very similar to the approach Jillian Michaels takes in some of her workout DVDs by incorporating strength moves while keeping the heart rate up for maximum results.

Everything in the S.E.T. class from the instructor, the music, the moves, and the energy of the class was outstanding. I will absolutely be returning to that class. I think a strength workout meant to keep your heart rate up and build your endurance is so beneficial if you want to improve your athletic performance for running, cycling, and triathlon events.

Lately, I’ve been being more of a gym rat than usual. Typically I do a lot of running outside or on my treadmill at home along with strength training and yoga DVDs. In the 5 months I was training for a marathon I only stepped foot in the gym for the occasional spin class when I needed some cross training. I’ve been craving trying new classes especially the body pump and S.E.T. class for strength and I’ve been attending spin class more often as a way to help with triathlon training.

With my return to the gym 3-4 times a week is also the return of the germs that come along with going to the gym. It seems like with the weather changes and the pollen in the air I’ve seen people sneezing and coughing all around the office, grocery stores, and the gym. I know it sounds gross but people that workout at a gym are highly exposed to bacteria, viruses, and fungus.  I thought I’d share some of my tips on making the gym the cleanest environment possible for your workout.

Fit Chick Britt Fitness Tips For Avoiding Germs At the Gym:


Sanitize- I don’t know about your gym but 24 hour fitness provides bottles of sanitizer spray and paper towels near all the water fountains in the gym. Wipe off gym equipment before and after you use it. I know I’m a courteous machine user, but not everyone is, and they don’t all wipe down their mess when they’re done. If your gym doesn’t supply sanitizer, bring your own wet wipes to wipe off machines.

Bring Two Sweat Towels– Bring one towel for wiping away sweat and bring one towel you can place on the machine and lie down on.

Bring Your Own Mat– If you’re taking a group class like yoga or body pump bring your own mat for floor work. The mats supplied by the gym harbor millions of germs. If you can’t bring your own, wipe down the mat the gym provides with sanitizer or a wet wipe before use.

Wash Your Hands– This might sound like a no brainer but wash your hands frequently. Even wash them before walking out the door; you don’t want to bring all the germs you collected on your hands and arms from touching the equipment with you to your car and home. Scrub your arms up to your elbows, you know, like Dr.’s do.

Avoid Touching Your Face– If you need to move hair out of your face use the back of your palm. Avoid your nose, eyes, and mouth to keep germs from entering your body.

If you’re sick stay home– You wouldn’t want someone coughing all over the treadmill right before you use it, would you? If you’re sneezing and snotty and still wanting to exercise I would try working out at home or going for a run outside.

Lysol– Lysol or Clorox spray is your friend. Frequently spray your gym bag and your mat that’s been exposed to the germs on the floor of the gym.

Bring Your Own Water- The water fountains are a major breeding ground for bacteria at the gym, so bring your own water bottle. If you think you’ll run out of, bring two bottles.

Never Be Barefoot– whether you’re changing or taking a shower never let your bare feet hit the floor.

The benefits of working out far outweigh the risks of the germs at the gym. If you take a few extra steps to stay clean and conscience about your environment you’ll be good to go!

Well I have some exciting news for you this Wednesday. I signed up for my first triathlon of the season! It’s exactly a month away. It is a super sprint (300 yard swim 10 mi bike and 2 mi run). I’ve never done one this short in length before so I’m hoping Super Sprint means Super Fast. I’d like to see how well I can perform speed wise.  That means I’ve got to work on some speed with some track workouts, treadmill intervals, speed work in the pool, and some speed work on the bike.

Kona Eastside Triathlon

 My plan for the night was to head to the gym for spin and do a treadmill interval run, but the weather outside is beautiful and breezy. I do try to stick with a training plan for the most part, but I always make adjustments and tweak my plan to allow myself to do what my body and mind feel like doing for exercise that day.

Do you have any tips for avoiding germs at the gym?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. pawsitivelife permalink
    March 30, 2011 5:20 PM

    As a microbiologist by trade I would suggest not using antibacterial soaps as much as you are tempted to. You end up killing good bacteria, leaving you prey to superbugs which are almost impossible to get rid of. Soap and water are great

  2. March 30, 2011 5:31 PM

    These tips to avoid gym germs are so useful! Especially since it’s been such a long winter in Toronto (still snow on the ground) meaning that I’m still going to the gym 3-4 times a week rather then being outside in the fresh air!

  3. pawsitivelife permalink
    March 30, 2011 6:28 PM

    Unless its alcohol based don’t use it. Otherwise you might end up in a situation that if you get sick no antibiotic will help. Kinda scary

  4. March 30, 2011 7:28 PM

    That 24S.E.T. class rocks! It’s just so hard for me to leave work, deal with my monsters, and make it there on time. I wish the class started an hour later and then I’d have it made. I do plan on going back whenever I can manage to get out of work just a wee bit earlier.

  5. March 30, 2011 9:43 PM

    These are all great tips!! I definitely second using two towels! It makes all the difference!

  6. March 31, 2011 8:48 AM

    Congrats on the tri sign up!
    One of the trainers at my gym once said you should also be mindful of how many times you wear your workout clothes between washes at the gym if you use mats a lot.

  7. March 31, 2011 9:46 AM

    These are so useful. Unfortunately I don’t use hardly any of them. :/
    I’ve never gotten sick though.

  8. March 31, 2011 12:18 PM

    I love these tips! I wash my hand religously too lol. Congrats on your upcoming tri! I bet a super fast tri will be super fun 🙂 S.E.T. class sounds really fun and challenging. I love a challenging workout!

  9. March 31, 2011 2:14 PM

    I am such a gym rat but don’t think about germs nearly enough. I do focus on washing my hands and wiping down machines though.

    That SET class sounds awesome!

  10. March 31, 2011 3:27 PM

    I love these tips.. I always hand sanitize before and after I leave the gym

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